9 Best Things To Do At Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park 2022
Henry Cowell Redwoods state park is a stunning redwood forest near Santa Cruz. It covers 4650 acres of wilderness. You can enjoy a wonderful outdoor escape at Henry Cowell Redwoods Park all year!
The State Park contains some of the most impressive and oldest redwood tree species. It will leave you speechless. You can find the top attractions in the park just a short distance from downtown Felton. This gives you easy access to amazing trails and natural beauty.
This post will cover 9 of the most popular things to do in Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, as well as other useful visitor tips. Let’s get started!
How To Access Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park
Before we get into the details, here are a few parking tips:
- The main visitor area is located by the N Big Trees Park Rd Parking, and it costs $10 to park here for the day.
- Parking is included if you plan to purchase tickets for Roaring Camp’s train. It can be found at the Roaring Camp parking lot.
- Many people park on Highway 9 and walk 1-2 miles to the park.
- Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park Camping Ground provides easy access to many park trails and has its entrance from the Graham Hill Road.
- If you plan to rent a cabin, you can reach many of these hikes from nearby vacation homes, hotels, and RV parks.
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9 Best Things To Do At Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park
1. Hike The Redwood Grove Loop Trail
The Redwood Grove Loop Trail, if you’re new to Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, is a great way to get familiar with it and warm up your feet.
You can start at the N Big Trees Park Rd Parking and follow a loop of 0.8 miles that runs through a 40-acre forest with some of California’s oldest and tallest redwood trees. The trail is flat and short, making it an ideal choice for families with little children.
Stop at the trailhead and scan your smartphone for a QR code. This will bring up an electronic guide that highlights the trail highlights. You can easily follow this trail loop because many trees are marked. Also, you will learn more about Henry Cowell State Park by scanning your phone for a QR code.
You will immediately feel the coolness and stillness in this rainforest as soon as you enter it. This forest is an old-growth treasure trove with original trees that were not logged but preserved. This grove contains more than 300 feet of high trees and is over 2000 years old.
You can admire the Redwood Grove Loop’s giant trunks and tall trees, which block most sunlight from entering the grove. It gives it an almost eerie feel.
The Giant, which stands 270 feet tall and 17 feet wide, is the largest tree in this loop. Another interesting tree is the Freemont Tree. It has a hollowed-out trunk that visitors can climb through to see the inside.
2. Roam Around The Roaring Camp
A great spot for family outings is the Roaring Camp. Felton’s top attraction is the Roaring Camp. Here you can explore a town built in western style. It includes a general store, a train depot, and picnic areas.
You can visit the Print Shop, which houses one of the few Linotypes left around, and you can see a recreation of a Sheriff’s Office. You can get a hot dog, burger, or sandwich at the Food & Drink Area and then enjoy a relaxed lunch at one of the outdoor picnic-style tables.
The Roaring Camp Covered Bridge is a key feature of this charming town. This covered bridge measures 36 feet long and is the longest in America.
Roaring Camp is next to Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, so you can combine both visits in one day.
3. Ride A Historic Train
The Roaring Camp Train is a great way to have fun in the old-growth redwood forests. The train travels for about an hour and crosses wooden train trestles that climb steep switchbacks up to Bear Mountain. This thrilling ride allows you to see parts of Felton’s redwood forests that would otherwise be impossible to reach.
The train rides can run multiple times per day, depending on the season. To ensure the best available time slots, we recommend that you book tickets online in advance on the Roaring camp Website. Train tickets are currently $33 for adults and $24 for children (plus $10 for compulsory parking).
Roaring Camp’s Big Trees Narrow Gauge Railway is a recreation of historic railway lines and trains used to transport logged trees from the forests in the 1800s. You can board the train at Roaring Camp’s Train Depot.
The train was operated by a tour guide and a gentleman who has been operating Roaring Camp train rides since the 1960s. They shared interesting facts about the trees and the trains used here, and how the redwood grove was preserved.
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4. Explore Wooden Railroad Trestles
You can also walk to the wooden train tracks if you have extra time.
You can follow the trail past the duck ponds to reach the trestles. It will take you about 10-15 minutes. If you have never seen train trestles before, it’s an interesting place. Visitors can explore the tracks up to the point where the wooden trestles begin.
5. Stop By The Redwood Tree Display
A display of one of the oldest coastal redwood trees can be found near the Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park visitor center. This tree, which is more than 2200 years old, was finally cut down in 1934.
This exhibition shows the various tree rings and their age in modern-day events. Each year, a tree creates a new ring. This allows you to determine how old the tree is by counting its rings.
6. Hike To Cathedral Redwoods
Although the 4-mile-long trail to Cathedral Redwoods runs out and back, it is one of the most popular trails in Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. We loved it for that reason.
You have many options to reach the Cathedral Redwoods grove. The Redwood Grove Trail was our first stop. We then followed the River Trail to the Big Rock Hole Trail.
The Visitor Center has a map of Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. It also shows where highlights such as the Cathedral Redwoods are located. Because reception is limited in these forest areas, we also used an offline hiking map, Maps. Me.
This trail winds along a river that is surrounded by ancient redwoods. It feels peaceful and calming. Cable Car Beach is a great place to stop along the route. This allows you to easily reach the river shore and cool off in the summer.
You will need to be prepared for some uphill work towards the end, but you’ll soon reach the majestic Cathedral Redwoods Grove. This grove’s redwoods are older than their ancestors. They have grown in a perfect circle, especially when you look up at them from the tops of the trees.
7. Hike To Old Lime Kiln Ruins
The Lime Kiln Trail, a beautiful hike in the Fall Creek Unit, takes you through a tranquil redwood forest and past overgrown industrial ruins. This popular hike is approximately 3 miles long and can be done at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park.
The Fall Creek-to-Lime Kilns Trail winds through creeks, mossy river canyons, and wooden bridges. This forest is home to the remains of an old mining operation that was active between 1874-1919. It includes historic lime kilns, a barrel mill, and other remnants.
The property began to decline after the factory was closed. The remaining portion of the property is now overgrown with trees, moss, and bushes as nature claims the land.
The Fall Creek Unit of Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park has over 20 miles of hiking trails that take you through second-growth forests.
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8. Camp At Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park
Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park Campground is a great place to camp if you love camping. This park section is accessible via Graham Hill Road and has its entrance.
Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park Campground has 107 wooded sites nestled amongst oak and pine trees. This provides shade and privacy. These large campsites have picnic tables, storage bins, grills, and firepits.
9. Enjoy Views From Redwoods Observation Deck
Redwoods Observation Deck overlooks Monterey Bay and the surrounding mountains and is the highest point in the park. The Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park Campground is just 0.5 miles from the Observation Deck. It can be reached easily via a 0.5-mile-long trail.
This area is unique because of its unique sandhills and rare ecosystems. The Observation Deck, located 805 feet above sea level in a sandhills vegetation community, is unique.
You might be able to see Acorn Woodpeckers digging holes in the trees around the deck for winter storage. Or you can look out through the magnifying glasses at the coast in the distance. You can also enjoy a relaxed lunch at one of the picnic tables.
Where To Stay In Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park
Here are some of our favorite places to stay in Felton near Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park.
1. Fern River Resort
We loved our stay at the Fern River Hotel during our Felton visit! Fern River Resort is located in a wooded area off Highway 9, connecting several historic logging towns to the Redwood State Parks.
This remote cabin resort is located at the edge of Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. It offers easy access (and free) to many of its trails. You can admire the magnificent views of redwood trees and the San Lorenzo River from the property.
Fern River Resort cabins are equipped with all the amenities of the home and have thoughtful touches to make your stay comfortable. Fern River Resort offers a variety of cabin options for different budgets and groups.
Address: 5250 Hwy 9, Felton, CA 95018, United States
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2. Santa Cruz Redwoods RV Resort
We have the perfect spot for you if you want to spend a few nights camping in Felton. Santa Cruz Redwoods RV Resort offers great amenities and is an alternative to camping in State Parks.
Santa Cruz Redwoods RV Resort is the ideal location for Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park and the main attractions of Felton. RV Resort guests have access to amenities such as a Clubhouse and firepits, hot showers in the bathrooms, and fully-hooked RV sites.
You can choose from standard RV camping sites starting at $80 per day or river view sites starting at $125 per day. Each full hookup site includes water, sewerage, electricity, cable, and other amenities.
Address: 4980 Hwy 9, Felton, CA 95018, United States
Camping At Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park
Three miles north of Santa Cruz, on Graham Hill Road, is the park’s campground with 113 sites. The campground is approximately two miles from the Redwood Grove Loop Trail and the Visitor Center. It takes about five minutes to drive there.
It takes you half a mile to walk from the campground through rare sandhill plants communities to reach the park’s highest point, the Observation Deck (805 feet). The campground is available for use during the season.
Each campsite has picnic tables and fire rings. A short distance from each campsite is a flush toilet and a shower. Bring your showers. Camping is $35 per night. You can purchase firewood. Maximum trailer length is 31ft; maximum motorhome or camper length is 35ft.
Camping reservations are highly recommended. Reservations can be made through ReserveCalifornia, or by calling 800-444-4PARK. For more information, call the Henry Cowell Campground at 831-438-2300 between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Bicycle campers can use the campsite for cycling into the park. Register at the kiosk located on Graham Hill Road.
Frequently Asked Questions: Things To Do At Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park
Do I need a reservation for Henry Cowell State Park?
Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park Campground is located off Graham Hill Road, about 5 miles north of Santa Cruz. Note that the campground entrance is different from the day-use areas of the park.
How old are the trees in Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park?
Henry Cowell is known for its old-growth redwoods; some trees here are 1400 to 1800 years old. The park’s tallest stands 285 feet tall and 16 feet wide. Try finding it on the Redwood Grove Loop Trail, an easy 0.8-mile hike where centuries-old redwoods grow.
Can you visit the redwoods right now?
Tall Trees Access Road is OPEN. A free permit is required to drive the access road and hike the Tall Trees Trail. Permits are not issued in park visitor centers, but online Tall Trees permits are issued. Geneva Road is OPEN.
Is Henry Cowell State Park free?
The park’s day-use area is free to visitors who choose to hike or bike in, but bikes are allowed on only four trails within the park trail system; dogs are allowed on three trails.
What time does Henry Cowell State Park open?
The Visitor Center is open Friday-Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Henry Cowell’s Visitor Center is located in the Day Use Area, 1 mile south of Felton on Highway 9. Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks members receive a discount at the Mountain Park Store.
Is Big Basin Redwood State Park open?
Rancho del Oso, the ocean side of Big Basin Redwoods State Park, is partially reopened following the wildfire. Learn more and plan your visit.
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